MECHANISMS FOR FORMATION OF CULTURAL EXCLUSION AND FRONTIER ZONES – 2016 The Conference conducted with financial support of the Russian Science Foundation (project № 14-18-00192)

Saint Petersburg State University
Institute of Philosophy 
Department of Russian Philosophy and Culture

Labont (University of Turin) 

Saint-Petersburg State Museum-Institute of the Roerichs

Mice and Travel Agency

St. Petersburg Polytechnic University named after Peter the Great
 International relations department

Italian Unstitute of Culture, Saint-Petersburg

The Third International Research Conference
The Conference conducted with financial support of the Russian Science Foundation (project № 14-18-00192)


(October 20th-22nd, 2016)

There are two aspects of the formation of cultural memory. The first one is memorial zone. The second is the zone of oblivion and experience excepted from ordinary cultural practice; it is more important as it involves more cultural phenomena. Like some inconvenient historical figure or uncomfortable historical event this cultural experience is excepted but not completely forgotten. It shapes cultural borderlines and defines processes of identification. Such zones of excepted but unforgotten cultural experience were named Cultural Exclusion and Frontier  Zones (on the analogy with the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone).
The main objectives of the Conference: To reveal the mechanisms for formation of cultural exclusion zones on the example of the totalitarian Soviet past. Though topographical representation of national culture is nowadays quite common in the field of the Humanities (the methods of exposing of geographical boarders of national cultures are drawn up, theories of “cultural boarders” are elaborated and imagology is actively developing), borderline is usually regarded as a characteristic of some territory possessing distinct outlines. The research group brought together by this project takes into consideration multifactor influence upon the contents of culture and sees in interaction of different cultures not only frontier zones (marginal and containing elements of two and more interacting cultures) but also exclusion zones, i. e. zones of cultural suppression whose importance for interacting cultures becomes rather questionable. 
Organizing Committee :
Prof. Tiziana Andina, PhD (University of Turin, Italy)
Elizaveta I. Blagodatova (Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia), Press-Secretary of the Conference
Dr. Alexey A. Bondarenko, PhD in Physics and Mathematics (Saint-Petersburg State Museum-Institute of the Roerichs, Russia)
Prof. Alexander I. Brodsky, Doctor of Philosophy (Saint-Petersburg State University, Research Center for Cultural Exclusion and Frontier Zones, Russia)
Dr. Alexander Chertenko, PhD in Philology (Research Center for Cultural Exclusion and Frontier Zones, Russia)
Ksenia A. Kapelchuk, undergraduate student (European University at Saint-Petersburg, Research Center for Cultural Exclusion and Frontier Zones, Russia)
Dr. Janna V. Nikolaeva, PhD in Philosophy (Saint-Petersburg State University, Research Center for Cultural Exclusion and Frontier Zones, Russia)
Dr. Eugeny A. Macovetsky, Doctor of Philosophy (Saint-Petersburg State University, Research Center for Cultural Exclusion and Frontier Zones, Russia)
Prof. Alexey V. Malinov, Doctor of Philosophy (Saint-Petersburg State University, Research Center for Cultural Exclusion and Frontier Zones, Russia)
Dr. Vladimir L. Melnikov, PhD in Cultural Studies (Saint-Petersburg State Museum-Institute of the Roerichs, Russia)
Dr. Elena A. Ovchinnikova, PhD in Philosophy (Saint-Petersburg State University, Research Center for Cultural Exclusion and Frontier Zones, Russia)
Prof. Izolda Yu. Peshperova, PhD in Law (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation, Russia)
Prof. Sergey N. Pogodin,  Dr. Sci in History (St. Petersburg Polytechnic University named after Peter the Great, Department of international relations, Russia)
Dr. Maria V. Semikolennykh, PhD in Cultural Science (Research Center for Cultural Exclusion and Frontier Zones, Russia)
Prof. Dr. Kerstin Schoor, PhD in Philology (European University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder, Center for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg, Germany)
Dr. Anna A. Troitskaya, PhD in Art History (Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia)
Dr. Sergey A. Troitskiy, PhD in Philosophy (Saint-Petersburg State University, Research Center for Cultural Exclusion and Frontier Zones, Russia), Chairman

Especially thanks: Maria Semikolennykh (translations)

Regulations of the conference:
Time limit for the lectures - up to 30 minutes
Time limit for discussion after the lectures - up to 10 minutes


1st Day
(October 22nd, 2015)
10-00 — 10-30
Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU 
(5 Mendeleevskaya Liniya)
Registration of Participants

10-30 — 11-00
Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU 
(5 Mendeleevskaya Liniya)
Conference Opening Ceremony
Conference Welcome Speech
Technical Details about the Conference and Events Held within the Conference

11-00 — 12-00 
Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU 
(5 Mendeleevskaya Liniya)
Research seminar “The Principles of Marginality and Regionalism in Culture” (in commemoration of the 180th birthday of Grigory Nikolayevich Potanin and the 150th anniversary of the “Process of Siberian Separatism”)
(Chairman  - Alexey V. Malinov, Doctor in Philosophy (Saint-Petersburg State University) and chairwoman – Tatiana F. Lyapkina, Doctor in Culture Science (Saint Petersburg Institute of Culture)

12-00 — 12-30

12-30 — 14-00
Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU 
(5 Mendeleevskaya Liniya)
Research seminar “The Principles of Marginality and Regionalism in Culture” (in commemoration of the 180th birthday of Grigory Nikolayevich Potanin and the 150th anniversary of the “Process of Siberian Separatism”)
(Chairman  - Alexey V. Malinov, Doctor in Philosophy (Saint-Petersburg State University) and chairwoman – Tatiana F. Lyapkina, Doctor in Culture Science (Saint Petersburg Institute of Culture)

14-00 — 15-00

15-00 — 16-30 
Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU 
(5 Mendeleevskaya Liniya)
Research seminar “The Principles of Marginality and Regionalism in Culture” (in commemoration of the 180th birthday of Grigory Nikolayevich Potanin and the 150th anniversary of the “Process of Siberian Separatism”)
(Chairman  - Alexey V. Malinov, Doctor in Philosophy (Saint-Petersburg State University) and chairwoman – Tatiana F. Lyapkina, Doctor in Culture Science (Saint Petersburg Institute of Culture)

16-30 — 17-00 

17-00 — 18-00
Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU 
(5 Mendeleevskaya Liniya)
Research seminar “The Principles of Marginality and Regionalism in Culture” (in commemoration of the 180th birthday of Grigory Nikolayevich Potanin and the 150th anniversary of the “Process of Siberian Separatism”)
(Chairman  - Alexey V. Malinov, Doctor in Philosophy (Saint-Petersburg State University) and chairwoman – Tatiana F. Lyapkina, Doctor in Culture Science (Saint Petersburg Institute of Culture)

2nd Day
(October 23rd, 2015)
10-00 — 12-00
Session 1.  Formation of the zones of cultural exclusion 

12-00 — 12-30 

12-30 — 14-00 
Session 2. Zones of cultural exclusion in literature

14-00 — 15-00

15-00 — 16-30
Session 3. Deactualization and repression 

16-30 — 17-00 

17-00 — 18-00 
Session 4.  Problems of actualization and deactualization in arts

10-00 — 12-00
Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU 
(5 Mendeleevskaya Liniya)

Zones of cultural exclusion: Terminology

Sergei Troitckii (Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU, Russia)

If researcher uses in his work only well-known theories and terminology, he may find himself (and it is often the case) in situation when the whole research areas go unnoticed, as they don’t participate in the actuality of his own culture. The renewal of research methodology may allow for the refreshing of research perspective so that researcher could be aware of the marginal area of semiosphere, which is ignored by the official culture and official languages of metadescription. The speaker will explain the use of such terms as “zones of cultural exclusion”, “actualization”, “deactualization” and “frontier” in this context.

Formation of cultural exclusion zones in the situation of the crisis of historical conscience

Ludmila  Artamoshkina (Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU, Russia)

The paper analyzes the symptoms of the crisis of historical conscience; this analysis makes it possible to develop the procedure of legitimation for the new term coined by Sergey A. Troitsky: “zones of cultural exclusion”. The emergence of the zones of cultural exclusion requires the development of new commemorative practices and the “policy of memory”. The problem of correlation between history and memory is caused not only by the fact, that the development of cultural memory permits societies to produce their own images and transmit their identity to new generations, but also by the important role played by history in contemporary “policy of memory”. I mean the different social practices and norms, which are connected with the regulation of collective memory and aim at formation or reproduction of identities. When Pierre Nora introduces the problematic conception of “memory space”, he speaks of the “necrosis” of memory: according to him, the theme of memory is so urgent today just because the memory is absent. Biographical writing plays obvious role in the development of commemorative practices in modern culture (including the situations of the formation of exclusion zones).

Cultural exclusion and frontiers: Abysses and bridges

Ilja Levyash (Institute of Philosophy, the NAS, Belarus) on-line

One of the top priorities of the most essential contemporary agenda is “open society” as a means of free communication and dialogue between cultural or civilizational phenomena. This term or conception is one of the crucial elements of the maturity of states and nations and their ability to cooperate effectively while preserving their very “essence”. In practice the road of evolution towards “open society” presents an objective though problematic trend, which should overcome the thousand-year legacy of isolationism and estrangement of different peoples. That is why we should reconsider the unambiguously protective role of state boarders. Such cultural and civilizational phenomenon (and quite a polysemantic concept) as frontier plays rather different and in many respects opposite role. Etymologically it also means the boarder (frontier — is literary a border or a barrier), but in more urgent sense frontier is interpenetration and contradictory combination of different cultural or civilizational practices; it is a territory of meetings and contacts for different cultures and civilizations. Frontier is the space of triune circulation of people, things and ideas, the space of communication and dialogue, aiming at cultural exchange and mutual enrichment of “people, who are able to change” (Karl Jaspers). The problem of once-cultivated but twice lost European frontier is exceptionally important for nowadays Russia. However famous Kipling’s dilemma is still urgent for the destiny of Russia: it is still a country at the cross-roads playing the most essential global role. In this respect we should note the development of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa): the countries united by this organization have different (homo- or heterogeneous) cultural and civilizational foundations, but they are brought together by the strife for creation of an alternative post-western civilization. Thus the last generation of frontiers is created. To follow this path together, rejecting the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall and all other walls in the name of the universal for all the nations “higher idea” (Dostoevsky) is the imperative of our time.

Discursive mechanisms of the policy of cultural marginalization

Alexey Smirnov (Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU, Russia)

The main goal of the paper is to demonstrate that the structural and semiotic model of discourse is the best scientific model for the description and analysis of the mechanisms of cultural marginalization. Phenomenon of cultural marginalization or repression beyond the cultural “boarders” is possible only in the field of discourse or representation in the communicative practices, which differ with the level. Two most essential levels of communication are (for convenience) these between 1) a subject and political structures and 2) different subjects (this level corresponds to the whole range of apolitical forms of the structures of everyday life). A special trend of cultural marginalization (dealing with the spheres of political life and sexuality) exists on each of the distinctive levels of communication. Involvement of sexuality into the process of implementation of control strategies results in the marginalization of sexuality in the discursive practices of everyday life and the development of special “topoi”, marking sexual as something “improper”, which cannot be verbalized in everyday life. The main sign of the marginalization of political phenomena is its distorted interpretation in the political discourse, which creates inadequate conditions for the discursive representation of political life. Comparing the functioning of political and sexual discourses we can bring into light some similar mechanisms of the limitation of these spheres’ representation in discursive practices. In the process of representation of sexuality these mechanisms create a series of omissions. At the same time the discourse can evade the questions about the legitimacy of any omissions. The detailed analysis of the development of any of these omissions will significantly contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms of cultural marginalization in general.

“Cyclone to turn windmills”: Deconstruction of cultural exclusion zone in Russian and Ukrainian literatures of the XX century

Boris Begun (European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany)

The paper considers construction and deconstruction of the zones of cultural exclusion (Sergey Troitsky’s term) as the stages of cyclic movement, corresponding to the processes of ideological centering and postmodernist decentralization. The different patterns of this phenomenon are demonstrated on the revealing examples from the history of Russian and Ukrainian (Soviet and Post-Soviet) literatures. The problems of the establishment and overcoming of cultural boarders and their connections with the analysis of the zones of cultural exclusion make another theme of the paper.

Freaks from Galicia: Strategies of personification of the Galician borderland in German fiction

Eugenia Voloshchuk (European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany)

Freaks from Galicia: Strategies of personification of the Galician borderland in German fiction The figure of a local freak is the traditional element of the Western Ukrainian borderland mythology. “Galician” discourse of German fiction is especially abundant in the vivid modifications of that figure. The paper’s original hypothesis is the assumption that the portraits of Galician freaks provide for the specific development of the semantic complex, which is peculiar for the Galician borderland topos in general. Which elements of this complex come to the foreground in the portrait of such characters? Which aspects of their “inclusion” and “exclusion” pertaining to the local environment are emphasized in the works of different writers? Which relations connect these images with such topical for the (post)imperial borderland concepts as “frontier violators” and “the figure of the Third”? These questions draw my attention in this presentation.

The nameless trench. Belarus as a zone of cultural exclusion in Artur Klinov’s novel “?alom”

Alexander Chertenko (Kiev, Ukraine / Gomel, Belarus)

During the presentation I am planning to analyze the postcolonial (and at that not successful) polemics with 1) stereotypical European image of Belarus as a “zone of exclusion” situated “under the European raft”, hidden from European sight and thus devoid of its own semantic; and 2) Russian imperial stereotype of Belarus as a “zone of exclusion”, which in spite of its independency will necessarily reproduce external practices of repressive regulation, thus belonging to the imperial cultural field. This polemics takes place on the pages of Artur Klimov’s novel “?alom” (“Helm”, 2011). The title metaphor of Prussian helm allows Klinov repudiating the strategy of desemantization of the former colony which underlies both stereotypes. In the first case the stereotype is created on the positions of civilizer, who marginalizes potentially dangerous “alien” space; in the second case — on the positions of hegemon, who draws a map of such an “alien” space, turning it into his own, while temporally alienated. The novel localizes modern Belarus in the gap between these two tactics of colonial desemantization. However it doesn’t make an attempt of the reinterpretation (or “reimagining” in Edward Said’s terms) of desemantized territory. Moreover, it uncritically quotes a whole range of cultural patterns (from the protagonist’s journey, copied off “Moscow—Petushki” by Venedikt Yerofeyev, through the conception of a riot-“war”, borrowed from Nietzsche’s “Thus spoke Zarathustra”, and to the final reactualization of the image of Dostoevsky, who becomes a kind of metaphysical judge of what is going on), which add a tint of “validity” to colonial status of the exclusion zone (in its ambiguous meaning).

Tradition as neurosis: Physiological foundations of actualization and exclusion in culture

Alexander Brodsky (Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU, Russia)

The author of the paper makes an attempt to consider tradition as a peculiar form of neurotic exclusion and repression. According to the suggested conception, the basis of every neurosis (inertia of neural processes transcending the biological expedience) is short-circuiting in one of the cerebral cortex areas and peripheral inhibition. So called impulsive obsessions are the psychological manifestation of such inertia. Semantics of impulsive obsessions can be described through Vasily V. Nalimov’s “probabilistic models” of language. Nalimov’s main idea is that every sign of language probabilistically and statistically connected with a great number of its meanings, which form a priori function of the distribution of meaning. In a specific context a speech act actualizes one of these meanings and excludes others. Alterations emerge when one meaning is fixed and invariable no matter what context is. Let’s now take culture as a subject of study: first of all we should agree with rather trivial statement that any culture is based on a tradition. Tradition guarantees unity and continuity within the frameworks of national culture. But whose unity and continuity is guaranteed? Obviously, it is unity and continuity of meanings of signs, as culture is nothing else than a system of signs. Thus one or another culture is preserved as much as meanings of its signs are invariable. And quite the contrary, cultural changes (or transformation of tradition) are the changes of a priori functions of the distribution of meaning, which are adequate to the alteration of situation. Consequently, the pathological (i. e. transcending the biological expedience) inertia of neural processes is the basis of the humanity’s cultural wealth and diversity. This inertia gives us an explanation for the existence of zones of cultural exclusion and repression.

“Repression” of ethics from the system of academic disciplines in Russian culture of the XIX century

Elena Ovchinnikova (Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU, Russia)

By the middle of the XIX century Russian ethical thought had been ousted from universities and “repressed” from the system of academic disciplines. This process had many unexpected consequences for Russian culture. Since ethical reflection is a necessary element of any culture, its repression from academic environment results in the development of some new ways of expression and constitution. Having found itself beyond the borders of academic or university environment, Russian thought creates special ethical cultural space within the spheres of literature, criticism and social and political journalism or else the world-view of scientists. The result of “repression” of academic ethics was the formation of peculiar “disciplinary space” of ethics in Russian culture (as well as the development of ethical language in literature). This makes it possible to speak of special forms of ethical reflection in Russian culture in the XIX century. Thus the “repression” of ethics from the university curriculum in many respects has contributed to the formation of peculiar “panmoralism” of Russian thought and culture in general.

Art studies within the Russian culture’s field of actuality

Anna Troitckaya (Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU, Russia)

The paper considers the peculiar place of art studies in Russia on the early stage of the history of this discipline and during the first decades of Soviet rule. The example of the Institute of Art History, the first Russian research and educational institution for art studies, makes it possible to demonstrate the transformations of both art studies and attitude towards this discipline during the 1920–1930s. We especially interested in the processes of actualization and deactualization of a new academic discipline and the mechanisms, which the authorities used for the repression of art studies (in their initial form) from the field of official culture or in other words for their deactualization.

The first transformation of Russian posters during the 1900–1920s

Nataliia Gulyaeva (Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU, Russia)

The paper discusses the transformation of cultural paradigm on the example of Russian posters during the 1900–1920s. The rise of avant-garde posters was the reflection of the changes which took place in the cultural environment: in the spheres of imaginary, the strategies of vision, the construction of space and the role played by objects depicted, — i. e. in all areas affected by Russian avant-garde in general. A turning point, a moment of transition or in other words a culture gap (which however doesn’t mean the complete replacement of one pattern by another) is the focus of attention for the study of conversion to new cultural paradigm. The new forms of artistic expression emerge: they exist along the old one, though little by little become more popular, reproducible and realizable.

The breakthrough of Russian art into Russia. The return of Russian theatrical scenic painting (1880–1930): The project of exhibition

Lidia Dovydenko (Kaliningrad Institute of Economics (Saint Petersburg University of Management and Economics), Russia)

The paper considers the return of the collection of Russian theatrical scenic painting, which had been lost after the Revolution of 1917 due to ideological reasons, back to Russia as an act of liquidation of the zone of cultural exclusion on the example of the exhibit space belonging to the A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum and the St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music. Thanks to the enormous personal contribution of a famous collector, prince Nikita Dmitrievich Lobanov-Rostovsky to the process of repatriation of cultural heritage of Russian ?migr?s back to the Russian national cultural and historical treasury, to the museum collections, we are provided with the paragon of moral obligation and spiritual ties with motherland, carving its own way in the cultural space of the world. The collection of theatrical scenic painting belonging to two aforementioned Russian museums is the genuine encyclopedia of not only Russian avant-garde and scenography, but also the huge stratum of history and culture.

Types of Borders: From Physical Constrains to Transgenerationality

Tiziana Andina (University of Turin, Italy)

What is a process of exclusion? What does “exclusion” mean?? In the present talk, first I will briefly discuss the concept of exclusion and its link with the idea about the process of cultural exclusion. Thereafter, I will examine a particular kind of process of exclusion that involves, as the preeminent subject, the State and other institutions which are in charge of transgenerational actions.

Borders as documental entities

Maurizio Ferraris (University of Turin, Italy)

One of the most obvious form in which crossing borders appears is through documents and, actually, exhibition of documents: specifically through information about a possible change of phone provider that reach us on the phone. Nowadays, more than ever, we understand that borders are made of memories, not of matter.

Glocalization and the exclusion of national in the time of crisis. Italian example

Zhanna Nikolaeva (Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU, Russia)

Well-established regionalism is typical for many states, but Italian example is worth of special attention, as it is both standard and unique. It is impossible to study Italian culture, not taking into account its typical well-established regionalism or rather manifestations of localism, reflected by Italian campanilismo. In addition Italia exists in the state of glocality (glocal = global + local): it is a part of the European Union, one of the main ideologists of this union and its active participant. The local cultural areas, identified by their language, common cultural history, which can be traced back to the remotest antiquity, business traditions and the economical role within the global region, i. e. Europe (e. g. Lombardy, Veneto, Piedmont, South Tyrol etc.), are not interested in the further development of “national” or nation any more; they believe it to be an artificial construct created by the Enlighteners, something out of date and unreasonable, not able to face the challenges of the global world, such as economical and cultural neocolonization. Discussions about the unity of Italian nation and the “exclusion” of regional mentalities aren’t finished: there are some interesting marginal approaches.

Law beyond the borders: vagueness as a strategy to bypass national sovereignty

Gianmaria Ajani (University of Turin, Italy)

Today we observe that vague notions, such as “Good Governance”, “Rule of Law”, are conducive for the globalization of laws. The worldwide game of transplanting regulations through the vehicle of vague notions is consistent with a strategy of harmonization of domestic legislations. This essay suggests that the spreading of an ideology of objectivity and neutrality of the “market-orented rules” is consistent with the recourse to formalism, and it is supported by the use of vague notions. Formalism, here, refers to the practice of using (and translating) words without considering the actual contents of the notions. It follows, then, that the recourse to vague notions is part of the process of global harmonization of laws that has characterized the last 20 years and has made national borders unable to shield national soveregnty in the process of law-making.

On the criticism of exclusion: the victim, the oppressed

Ksenia A. Kapelchuk (European University at Saint-Petersburg, Russia)

In many respects the transfer of the logic of antagonism, struggle, hegemony and oppression to the cultural concepts is predetermined by the Marxist interpretation of history. Hence the zones of cultural exclusion become, on the one hand, some exhausted and sublated forms of the existence of human community (represented by official culture through relevant historical documents and artifacts), and, on the other hand, some spaces distinct for their problematic availability. These spaces also comprise a tradition, but it is the peculiar tradition of the oppressed. Analysis of these mechanisms of historical development, which produce the oppressed class, brings into light the figure of victim. However the same analysis conceals this figure, making it a derivative of discourse and thus uniting the rhetoric of emancipation with the fixed position of oppression. Therefore we are in danger of caring not for the liberation of oppressed, but quite the contrary, for the consolidation of oppression in the name of possibility to construct the discourse of liberation. Therefore we should pay special attention to the figure of victim. In the paper the transformations of the concept of victim will be traced back to antiquity and scrutinized in the contexts of modernity, which draw attention of such thinkers as Nietzsche, Girard, Benjamin and Agamben. The problem brought up by the figure of victim/oppressed for the discourses of emancipation (on the example of Marxism) will be in focus of this presentation.

Mechanisms of social and cultural marginalization of dissident movement in the Late Soviet society

Maria Vorobjeva (Ural State University of Economics, Russia)

The paper analyzes the history of Soviet dissident movement from the point of view of its clash with the state. It lays aside the well studied history of open persecutions and examines other means of repression utilized by the authorities in their dealings with dissidents — the deliberate marginalization of the movement and its members in particular. The paper explores the main mechanisms of the marginalization of dissident movement: the denial of the existence of dissent in the USSR (the denial of the significance of any ideological dissention or dissidence for the Soviet Union on the level of language; the practice of categorization of political cases as criminal cases or capital state offences etc.), creation of the negative image of human rights advocates and dissident movement in general, the effort to discredit morals and actions of its members (dissidents were declared to be mentally diseased, the acts of their public condemnation were stage-managed, some dissident were forced to perform the acts of public penitence and betray their fellows etc.), social marginalization and desocialization. The authorities used these mechanisms to drive dissident movement into social and cultural ghetto, which should contribute to the clamp-down on dissent and the decrease of the influence of dissident movement on the Soviet society.

Borders and main contradictions of the Soviet culture

Anna N. Bystrova (Siberian State Transport University, Russia)

Culture as a state of human existence is manifested temporally and spatially. In the first case we see it as a diachronic phenomenon. The second concept is based on the idea of synchronic and systematized unity defined by its common border and borders of constituting elements. Border is ambiguous: that brings into light the existence of certain “zones of exclusion”, which exist in any culture. These “zones of exclusion” reveal contradictions, which can either constitute the unity, or lead to the cultural disasters. Among other contradictions of the Soviet culture these can be marked out: contradiction between the main ideological directives and their implementation; between slogans and reality; between wild enthusiasm and deep disappointment caused by the orientation of cultural paradigm towards obligations, but not the possibilities of everyday life. The main ideological guideline was transformed: Marxism was deprived of dialectics. The call for dialectical analysis ran into the flat denial of any contradictions in socialist society. This idea laid the foundation for vehement class strife, civil war, and then repressions and deaths of many people, including those, who made significant contribution to different spheres of culture. Moreover, throughout the whole period of the Soviet culture’s existence no image of the prospective future has been created: the sphere of arts reflects this fact.

Actuality of the “lads” (patsany) subculture in nowadays Russia

Elvira Kabysheva (Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU, Russia)

This paper is the presentation of study on “lads” (patsany) subculture as reflected by cinema. It analyzes several films representing the values of this subculture. The concept was created by the film “Patsany” (1983), depicting juvenile delinquents and the reasons of their sociopathic behavior. Then “patsany” were presented as a role model in several cult films from the 1990–2000s. “Patsany” became adult and turned into bandits, but they were not antiheroes. After the 2000s the image of “patsan” has been becoming more and more popular. On the one hand it is a real subculture, which exists nowadays and involves a number of people; on the other hand it is an image: it can be a laughingstock, but it is not alien or revolting anymore. Sometimes it can even seem congenial.

On exclusion and frontiers of East Slavic philosophy, or The praise of concealment

Maria Ivanova (University of Virginia, USA) on-line

The paper addresses the problem of disciplinary alienation of East Slavic philosophy in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period. The question about the existence of philosophical knowledge in Slavic lands was closely connected with the search for the definition for a special type of rationality: it should correspond to this knowledge and provide an alternative for the (purely) theoretical rationality, while not excluding it. For a historian of philosophy and culture it is important to discover the methodology, suitable for the studies of this thought. Such methodology should allow for analysis conducted on the basis of not logical, but rhetorical rationality. The XVI and XVII centuries give many examples of the existence of this kind of rationality. Many of them are related to the dissemination of the art of dissimulation (or concealment) in the Early Modern period. These techniques were used in many spheres of human existence: in political and social life, religious views and philosophy. Thinkers, intellectuals, and religious figures of the XVI and XVII centuries concealed their religious convictions, political beliefs or devotion to a particular philosophical theory. They could often change their preferences or even held two contradictory opinions at the same time. Hence the new type of protean mentality arose. Analysis of protean strategy is exceptionally important as it is necessary not only in the situation of cultural and confessional frontier, but also for the development of new philosophical methodologies and better understanding of the disciplinary space of philosophical knowledge.

“Two Hesychasms” in Russia in the XIX century

Eugeny Makovetsky (Institute of Philosophy, SPbSU, Russia)

As a spiritual practice and the mode of Christian life Hesychasm has been known since the IV century. However in the middle of the XIV century it was not exceptionally the practice of prayer, but had also turned into the political force. It was exactly in this form that Hesychasm was inherited by Russia and continued in the Russian Empire till the beginning of the XX century: not only as a spiritual practice and the mode of Christian life, but also as a means for national and cultural identification of the Eastern Slavic people. In the XIX century the scholarly reflection of Hesychasm emerged as a result of the development of patrology and the flourishing of Russian theological education. At that time of secularization such scholarly reflection might be historically acceptable form of Christian life, but Seraphim’s of Sarov fame, the new edition of “Philokalia” by Theophan the Recluse and the popularity of “The Pilgrim’s Tale” allow asserting that the genuine ecclesiastical interpretation of Hesychasm presented in Russian culture of the XIX century to no lesser degree than during the previous times. The gap between Hesychasm as a practice of Christian life and “scholarly Hesychasm” of the XIX century could be experienced as a personal drama. The destiny of Gregory Ivanovich Nedetovsky (1846–1922), a famous Russian patrologist and writer, gives us an example of such a dramatic event. The mere existence of “two Hesychasms” in Russia in the XIX century can provide us with the model for study of the mechanisms of cultural exclusion.

«The Kingdom’s border» by Nikolai Roerich

Vladimir Melnikov (Saint-Petersburg State Museum-Institute of the Roerichs, Russia)

In 1916 Nikolai K. Roerich published a short parable “The Kingdom’s border” based on the Indian myth. It was concluded by the King’s words: “I cannot see my border”. The king here was a symbol of a human being’s inner essence, a human spirit. At a later date Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich often found himself on the borders of different kingdoms and states. His mission was, on the one hand, the expansion of borders, and on the other — transboundary communication and enlightenment. He promoted dialogues unique for human history: dialogues between science and arts, religion and science, the west and the East, the North and the South… N. K. Roerich’s efforts to explore “the exclusion zones” of contemporary civilization is worth of close attention and can be needed and continued in our times.